Traditionally, the focus is on smart phones, tablets, and desktop, enabling each user to have an optimal experience. Responsive design is Google’s preferred method of mobile optimization, and while a bit technically complex, it does ensure that each and everyone visiting your site has the best experience possible.
Five Layouts: the Sweet Spot for Plastic Surgery Website Design
When it comes to a plastic surgeon’s website, Surgeon’s Advisor designs for five different breakpoints. A breakpoint is a specific width of the screen, and using five device variations covers a substantial amount of territory in terms of giving nearly 100% of all prospective patient visitors the optimal experience. Our five versions are for the desktop, the tablet in landscape view, the tablet in portrait view, the smartphone in landscape view, and the smartphone in portrait view. More and more we are adopting mobile-first strategies where our primary emphasis is ensuring a fantastic mobile experience.
Within each breakpoint, we use responsive design to make sure that content and site structure grows and expands fluidly to service a variety of different devices within a certain size range. For instance, the needs of an iPhone S6 are slightly different than those of a Samsung Galaxy S7, but they can both fall within a given breakpoint. By designing properly at the beginning, we can make sure that everyone has the best possible representation of your site.
Google Prefers Responsive Design Over a Dedicated Mobile Site
Responsive design, similar to adaptive design, enables you to use one version of your site which Google has said is the preferred methodology. The chief reason is that a separate mobile version of the site makes things more complex for Google when it comes to indexing. Even Google can get confused about whether two versions of the same site means there are two sites and lots of duplicate content. The second is that very duplicate content; it can just confuse things in the eyes of Google and other search engines. So listen to Google and go responsive. Skip the concept of a separate mobile site on a separate mobile domain like mobile.yoursite.com. Google doesn’t love that method.
Conversion Optimization for Each Device and Each Patient
Responsive design also enables you to modify the aesthetics, and importantly the conversion optimization elements of your site, for each target user. If you think of the experience of browsing with a 17-inch monitor and a keyboard and a mouse you realize it’s fundamentally different than running on the go with your phone and tapping your thumb or swiping your finger. You also realize that subtle elements make the experience better or worse depending on the device and how those elements are used on the device. For instance, you may not often find yourself initiating phone calls on a desktop by clicking a phone call icon. However, on a smartphone it’s commonplace, so turning that phone number into a Google click-to-call that is tracked and clickable as a large button on your phone is a logical way to improve conversions. There are many similar items and each should be considered and utilized for best results.
Monitor the Performance of Devices and Platforms in Google Analytics
Focusing on slightly different representations of the same content but optimizing for each device with conversion optimization is the way to best handle responsive design. Interestingly, by intelligently utilizing Google Analytics, you can track how each and every one of these device users is fairing on your site. Are they sticking around? Are they clicking your calls-to-action? Or are you seeing sub-par results?
This is a smart way to see just how well you’re doing. A lot of practices only look at the data at its highest level, like total visits in a month or performance of the home page. We recommend digging much deeper, especially since some of those internal pages may be responsible for the lion’s share of your results. You should what’s happening at a deeper level because those details tell an interesting story. A story that you may not catch if no one is paying enough attention. For instance it may look like things are doing well overall in Google analytics, but perhaps you are not servicing tablet users properly because the tablet representation is broken. If so, it’s reflected in the details and the sooner you find it you can fix it.
By using Google Analytics and matching up the responsive design choices you’ve made you can see how well your users and visitors are actually doing on a device-by-device basis. Then you can monitor over time to increase performance of each and ensure you avoid technical issues while constantly increasing your market share.
Responsive design is vitally important these days but understand that the mobile optimization game continues to change. In the last year or so there have been approximately five significant mobile updates with Google. Now they are focused on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which are already live and working with major media partner sites. AMP pages are stripped down, lightning, very fast versions of the same pages on your site, and they’re already getting preferential treatment in Google’s results, including rich listings that capture the eye. If you’re not focused on AMP, it’s time to start focusing!
Use Google’s Tools to Ensure Your Website is Performing Well
And one more thing: When it comes to responsive design and testing you want to leverage Google’s testing tools. Google will tell you by virtue of a score from 1 to 100 whether your site is fast enough and mobile friendly enough. Something we see many practices missing is that they often focus only on the home page, so they miss important internal data. Many vendors put all their efforts into the homepage and don’t pay as much attention to internal pages like procedure pages or photo gallery pages. Oftentimes home pages do pretty well in testing tools but internal pages perform poorly.
But think of all of those other pages on your site. Think of your breast augmentation page, think of your rhinoplasty page, think of your extremely important before and after photo gallery and all its pages. Those pages need to be optimized with responsive design and load fast, too. And far more often than not, we see responsive design strategies fall apart when it comes to before and after photo galleries. The right responsive design strategy will address every page on your site and in fact will enable your photo galleries to stand out even more than the rest. Since those photos are a gold mine to you, it’s vital that they are presented well.